Kid Cudi – Indicud (Review)

by ike

Well since I haven’t done an album review in quite some time, I thought it best to review my favorite artist’s newest release. As we all know, or for those of you late to the New York City Rage Fest, Kid Cudi’s third solo album Indicud leaked early yesterday morning and, so far, to overly positive reaction. Some claim it as “his best work yet,” others state that the Cleveland rapper “is back!” Either way, I haven’t really heard any negative comments about the album, which is actually quite surprising.

Kid Cudi has always been an outcast in the world of hip-hop. The self-proclaimed Lonely Stoner received criticism among many hip-hop heads simply because he couldn’t be placed into a set-in-stone genre. Kid Cudi, by iTunes description, is a hip-hop artist, but many fans will agree that his sound is almost extraterrestrial, ever-changing and manipulating growth while being able redefine not sound in particular, but the way the listener is captivated by his music. All fan-boying aside, I honestly don’t think there will be another artist who will match Kid Cudi’s style in the near future at least.

Anyways, let’s get into the review. G.O.O.D. Music really lost an extraordinary artist and, with material like this, Kid Cudi is better off on his own.

Track 1 – The Resurrection of Scott Mescudi – Okay, first off….where did Scott Mescudi go? Oh yeah remember Mr. Rager, his alternate persona? Well in the music video for the self-titled track, our dear old friend Mr. Rager offed Scott, so this isn’t a remembrance song, but an ode to the rising of a murdered victim. Pretty spooky. And if you think the track doesn’t match the feeling, listen again. The outside effect of crickets chirping and an eerie Lo-Fi synth to boast grab the listeners attention especially when the reverb toms and classic Hi-hat ticks chime in. Oh and check out that quote at the end of the track:

Once you realize you can do anything, you’re free… you could fly

This is a quote by Macaulay Culkin from The Good Son film. In the film he plays Henry Evans, a psychopathic school child who appears to be innocent to all except his cousin. This directly relates to the track by implying that Kid Cudi has realized he has demons and isn’t as innocent as he would like to be (especially if he goes through some psychological disorder that ends up killing himself, causing him to resurrect his old self. Hence track one.)  I hope you’re ready for the journey…. okay really? That was just lame.

Next track.

Track 2 – Unfuckwittable – Ha! Only Scott himself could pass a word off like that. Oh and let’s all take a moment and appreciate the seamless album play. Two thumbs up from this guy over here. You have to enjoy this reminiscent track that takes you back to the nostalgic days of Man on the Moon – The End of Day. This track could have easily fit into the set-list. However, I wonder if it were actually deemed for the album and then when the infamous scrapping of The Guardians occurred, was replaced by other tracks. The lyricism links back to his guardians, without directly mentioning them, but instead describing himself as “unfuckwittable”.  We know that Cudi is quite spiritual, and by mentioning that he knows “no one could help [him] in hell,” he alludes that he knows that, basically, shit is getting real so let me go down another path. Cue G.O.O.D. Music departure. Take of that as you will.

Track 3 – Just What I Am (feat. King Chip) – First official single released from the album, so if you haven’t heard it by now then you have disappointed me. Shame on you. No need to really review this one. It’s just a good ass, fun summer jam with the windows down puffing on your favorite medicine.

Track 4 – Young Lady (feat. Father John Misty) – Honestly, until this album, I had no idea who this guy was. But after listening to this track,  I would like to check out more from Father John Misty. Anyways, check out a little psychedelic rock-n-roll, but not really, track. It’s pretty up beat and I love the reverb voice of the feature. Reminds me a little of Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow album back in the late 60’s. Obviously with a progressive-Cudi twang to it.

Track 5 – King Wizard – Again, you’ve all heard this one. Glad Cudi put the singles at the beginning of the album. If you haven’t heard it, enjoy the rhythmic bass and clapping. A little militaristic sound to it. I like the deep tones of the track and the progression of the bass pattern. Good to hear Cudi rapping again. I think everyone agrees.

Track 6 – Immortal – The last of the singles to be released pretty early in the game. The track samples a reversed MGMT Congratulations but features a different bass pattern. As far as the lyricism goes, and even sound, it’s very reminiscent of Man on the Moon, Vol. II: The Legend of Mr. Rager during Act IV of the album: The Transformation. This act also featured the tracks Manic, The End, Mr. Rager and These Worries. Approve.

Track 7 – Solo Dolo, Pt. II (feat. Kendrick Lamar) – Okay before you all shit bricks…..yes it really is that good. However, I think the track title is a little misleading. I think naming it as such was sort of an after thought, really because Cudi doesn’t mention of the pre-release except at the beginning. Maybe I need to play them back to back. Anyways, the track is pretty fucking awesome, I can’t lie. Follows a little mysterious chord that reminds me of early Bali-inspired music. Cudi spits some very nice bars and of course Kendrick following is just icing on the cake. Love the cymbal ticks Nice outro instrumental as well.

Track 8 – Girls (feat. Too $hort) – If you didn’t catch wind of this featured track, then you’re in for a treat. Love this track. Classy yet groovy enough to blast in your car. Playback reminds me of WZRD days such as Ghost in the Machine and Love Hard. Too $hort also delivers a solid verse and love the interpolation of Pretty Girls performed by The Kids of Widney High. Basically an interpolation is taking an original melody (or portions) and re-recording the melody rather than sampling it. The more you know.

Track 9 – New York City Rage Fest – Nice little instrumental interlude. Honestly, I wish this became a full-length track rather than an interlude because it’s pretty fucking amazing. Sounds a little like Steve Aoki’s dance remix to Kid Cudi’s Pursuit of Happiness. You’ll hear what I mean. Seems that Kid Cudi is using musical elements to transition from each act like he has on previous efforts especially the Man on the Moon series. No qualms here. Basically each act is composed of similar vibes but transition nicely to provide a cohesive album. We’re entering the “ballad-like” tracks. End scene.

Track 10 – Red Eye (feat. Haim) – Currently having a text conversation with a, uh, lady friend who doesn’t exactly agree with my likening towards this track. Ha. I think the reason is the track is more of  Haim featuring Kid Cudi, rather, as Cudi provides more back vocals rather than verses. Drum pattern reminds me of Björk’s All Is Full of Love music video. Not the studio version. This is gnarly, as All Is Full of Love is an awesome fucking song. Check that out here.

Track 11 – Mad Solar – Rather reminiscent of the Man on the Moon‘s first installment. Love the chillwavve feel that surrounds the track with an eerie keyboard to tote. Again Kid Cudi revels in his “fuck the world, be yourself,” ideology and expands on his complaints to his haters. Love the feel. Light one up to this.

Track 12 – Beez (feat. RZA) – Wow. I’m not a huge RZA fan as of late simply because I feel he sounds awkward on new releases. Cue So Appalled by Kanye West. But here, RZA really shines. Cudi doesn’t really vocalize much on this track, which was right inline with the original progression of Indicud. Basically this album was supposed to be more of a production-alized effort featuring other artists while Cudi handles the boards. Sample from Geto Boys’ classic My Mind Is Playing Tricks on Me handles the chorus line. Cudi has also stated that the track takes heavy influence from his first solo hit, Day ‘n’ Nite (Nightmare).

Track 13 – Brothers (feat. King Chip & A$AP Rocky) – I just love when King Chip and Kid Cudi team up. It’s always bound to be a groovy track. Cleveland stand up. Oh and by that statement, you’ve probably noticed by now that Cudi mentions his hometown city more frequently on this album. Yes. An ode back to the days of A Kid Named Cudi mixtape. Dope track and Cudi’s chorus almost reminds me of  Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s Crossroads. Or more recently Game’s sample of 1st of Tha Month on his Celebration track. Anyways, A$AP Rocky actually flows the track quite nicely. I must admit, I was a little skeptical of his sound on a Cudi track. Cudi finishes off the track with a solid verse and more Bone Thugs-N-Harmony harmonizing. A little The End reminiscent off Cudi’s second installment in the Man on the Moon series. 

Track 14 – Burn Baby Burn – If I had to choose one song that I would forego on a second listen, this would be the track. However, cohesively, the track works well. Mainly my problem with the track is the track itself. Don’t really care for it. But Cudi delivers solid verses, even reprimanding the critics, stating that he’s back and that those who doubted him can quit the speculation. Point 1, Cudi.

Track 15 – Lord of the Sad and Lonely – Nice. This is probably the closet track to Cudi’s early days. Cudi’s flow has either improved or it’s just been that long since I’ve heard him truly own a track with his rap patterns. He alludes back to songs in recent and later year and the computerized waves ebb and flow away nicely to where they don’t get annoying by closing. I’m feeling this one.

Track 16 – Cold Blooded – Rather short track, but love the eerie dance vibe. He picks the momentum back up a little bit to prepare for the next track. I kind of view the video as having a Michael Jackson Thriller visual. Chorus is very early 90’s/late 80’s R&B-esque, and who didn’t really like rhythm and blues of yesteryear? Well not really me. Sorry didn’t get into Jodeci and the sort, but I’m digging this track. (Goes off and zombie moonwalks around room)

Track 17 – Afterwards (Bring Yo Friends) [feat. King Chip & Michael Bolton] – The track that raised eyebrows. Like… what in all fucks?! How the fuck did Kid Cudi revive fucking Michael fucking Bolton?! This should have been titled: Afterwards, The Rising of Mr. Bolton. Very clubbish, but not the club that everyone is just X-O’d out…well actually, it’s exactly like that. Hopefully a DJ doesn’t take this track and make a complete debauchery out of it. Pretty lengthy track, but honestly you find yourself nodding your head to the beat without paying attention to the fact that you’ve been listening to this for nearly 10 minutes. Michael Bolton’s voice is smooth enough for easy jamming, but raspy enough to not disappear into the melody. Love the switch up around 3:22. Takes a new meaning on the above-mentioned Thriller vibe. I just love the complexity of the track, yet it’s simple enough to not pressure the listener into figuring out what exactly to listen for. Also love how throughout the album Kid Cudi has managed to capture different sounds and genres, yet still being able to highlight his personal sound and create a cohesive, moving album. Very tough to do. Oh, it should also be noted that Kid Cudi doesn’t really appear on the track. Except a few moans and groans here and there and a quick “verse” towards the end. Not mad. Good track.

Track 18 –  The Flight of the Moon Man – Well, we’ve reached the end and if you thought the opening track wasn’t spooky enough, don’t worry, Cudi makes sure you get it this time. Starts off as a sort of Twilight Zone meets late 70’s as an ode to the late Stephen King’s The Shining film. Then he revamps the feeling with ballistic grinds and space-age synth waves. Snare ticks, of the reverb persuasion and other, align the track here and there. Cudi ends with a solid eerie chord as the track, and album, draw to a close, and if that wasn’t enough, he seems to expand the idea that this story isn’t over. Almost set as an ending that captivates the listener, placing them at the edge of their seat, fading to black, then promoting the credits all without really concluding the set. And for that, I hate him and I love him. So I guess until then, as it seems, Mr. Scott Mescudi has returned to his grave to wreak havoc and awaken listeners with his music once more. Check. Check. And check.

Ike

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